Witch

Critics

LemonMeter

93 %

Reviews: 21

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Witch
August 20 - September 29, 2019
Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater
Written by Jen Silverman
Directed by Marti Lyons
Inspired by The Witch of Edmonton by Rowley, Dekker & Ford
Featuring Brian George, Ruy Iskandar, Evan Jonigkeit, Vella Lovell, Maura Tierney & Will Von Vogt

Golden Globe winner Maura Tierney (ER, The Affair) is featured in this fiendishly funny new play by Jen Silverman (The Roommate, Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties). A charming devil arrives in the quiet village of Edmonton to bargain for the souls of its residents in exchange for their darkest wishes. Elizabeth should be his easiest target, having been labeled a “witch” and cast out by the town, but her soul is not so readily bought. An inventive retelling of a Jacobean drama, this sharp, subversive fable debates how much our souls are worth when hope is hard to come by.

Reviews

Shari Barrett

Staged on a brilliantly creative two-setting, split-level scenic design by Dane Laffrey which includes a scene-dividing projected face on a screen on which the most extraordinary, ever-changing, light-flashing and color-changing eyes appear, this inventive retelling of a sharp, subversive fable debates how much our souls are worth when hope is hard to come by beginning when a charming Devil (Evan Jonigkeit, a black-clad, roguishly perfect scene stealer) arrives in the quiet village of Edmonton to bargain for the souls of its residents in exchange for their darkest wishes. But which of the five inhabitants will agree to sell their soul to attain whatever it is they think will make them happiest?

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

It's a powerful dose of medicine. And strong comedic performances buoyed by witty barbs serve as a spoonful of sugar to help it go down.

sweet - Jordan Riefe - Hollywood Reporter - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

All four actors in this clever, moralizing fable are in top form. Each scene involving any or all of them is hilarious and fun, driven by some truth about human nature.

sweet - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Marti Lyons' direction is focused and energetic, and she gets superb work from her cast, especially Von Vogt and Jonigkeit. However, an interpretive dance sequence toward the end of the play intended to change up the production's style, tries too hard and unfortunately doesn't work. Silverman's writing is some of the funniest I've experienced in years; it's sharp, the pace is propulsive, and the character work is deft. However, the two parallel storylines never quite sync up to anything bigger, and the comedic material is more successful than the dramatic moments.

That being said, Witch is a very entertaining, wickedly funny play, the kind of thing playwrights might have sold their soul to have written.

sweet-sour - Terry Morgan - Talkin' Broadway - ...read full review


Avatar

Silverman’s bloody, bestial comedy is skillfully acted by the talented cast. Direction and production values are also top-notch, as is Mikhail Fiksel’s clanging, caustic musical score.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

...author Jen Silverman has a writing style that keeps the humor present for most of it, which is a saving grace from the underdeveloped puerile statement the script seems to be building toward.

sweet-sour - Patrick Hurley - That Awesome Theatre Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

Silverman’s script is full of dark humor that not only allows us to be fully engaged throughout the 95-minute one act, it helps to take in the heavier critique of modern times.

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

Playwright Jen Silverman explains, “The Witch of Edmonton is the only play I encountered from that time that boldly announces to the audience that it is going to do this exact thing, and then does entirely the opposite.” Her keen ability to create a revival of this classic piece by Jacobean playwrights Rowley, Dekker, and Ford is something not to be missed, as she recreates the story, now set in contemporary times, even more so resonating with audiences today.

sweet - Bonnie Priever - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Avatar

On the strength of its cast and direction, “Witch” is certainly a worthwhile way to spend an evening at the theater; it’s a top-grade production, full of memorable moments that will spark your thoughts and challenge your preconceived notions. It will also make you laugh – it never lets you quite forget that it’s a dark comedy, no matter if the “dark” sometimes overshadows the humor.

sweet - John Paul King - LA Blade - ...read full review


Avatar

The play is superbly cast, with strong actors in each role. Silverman’s scene endings are filmic rather than theatrical, so Lyons gets each subsequent scene on its feet instantaneously.

sweet - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Avatar

Taken all together, Witch delivers a lot of tasty stuff—fun along with more of a punch to the gut than one had bargained for.

Predictably, the devil gets to have the last word. And it won’t be the one you expect.

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

While there’s much to laud about this production, there seemed to be a disconnect between its message of empowerment and a reliance on old tropes and stereotypes.

...That being said, the writer is to be commended for tackling an ambitious project and trying to craft a meaningful allegory to frame contemporary issues.

sweet-sour - Steve Gottfried - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

You don’t need to know anything about the original to enjoy Silverman’s riff on it, but it’s fun to read it afterward to see what she chose to use and what she didn’t.

sweet - Margaret Gray - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

Playwright Jen Silverman’s “Witch” is very loosely based on a 1621 English play called “The Witch of Edmonton,” but wow, is the plot ever completely new. There’s an effective juxtaposition between contemporary language and ideas and the 17th century period costumes and setting; it’s witty, darkly, humorous and ultimately thought-provoking.

sweet - Sarah A. Spitz - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal

Audiences, as well, are surprised by the outcome of this exceptionally intriguing play under the perceptive direction of Marti Lyons.  A marvelous cast creates each character they play to perfection.

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

The heart of the play— for women, feminists — really, anyone of any gender who’s stood alone against the world — is Elizabeth, with her courage in the face of a bleak friendless future.

sweet - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

WITCH leaves the audience wondering how much a soul is worth, when hope is hard to come by today. Elizabeth Sawyer (Maura Tierney, Golden Globe Winner) is the most reviled woman in her village, inciting people to stare and whisper about her in their midst. When she meets Scratch (Evan Jonigkeit) chemistry heats up and Elizabeth isn't ready to give away the only thing she has in life.

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Erin Conley

In adapting a play nearly 400 years old, Silverman has managed to tap beautifully into our current zeitgeist, asking all of the right questions. And this stellar production, chock full of strong performances, manages to deliver a startlingly somber message with levity and emotional authenticity.

sweet - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Near the end of Jen Silverman's modern adaptation of a 17th-century morality play Elizabeth, long-scorned by her judgmental community, reverses her decision and might be willing to go the Robert Johnson at the Mississippi crossroads route after all. Elizabeth’s argument for the total annihilation of civilization as we know it is a little unsettling—but it’s unsettling because, at this point in this brilliantly conceived cautionary tale, it seems a worthy argument for how the earth might resolve its current descent into universal madness.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

From Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost to Disney’s Fantasia and Broadway’s Damn Yankees, The Devil has been a popular character in books, music, film and stage works.. Marti Lyons has deftly directed and made sure her cast delivered all the various nuances of Silverman’s script.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Is there something you want so badly that you’d give up your soul to get it? That is the question Jen Silverman poses in Witch, her devilishly clever, deliciously laugh-packed, decidedly dark look at gender, class, and the future of life as we know it, set way back in Jacobean England but told in a vernacular as contemporary as the latest Netflix hit.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

Staged on a brilliantly creative two-setting, split-level scenic design by Dane Laffrey which includes a scene-dividing projected face on a screen on which the most extraordinary, ever-changing, light-flashing and color-changing eyes appear, this inventive retelling of a sharp, subversive fable debates how much our souls are worth when hope is hard to come by beginning when a charming Devil (Evan Jonigkeit, a black-clad, roguishly perfect scene stealer) arrives in the quiet village of Edmonton to bargain for the souls of its residents in exchange for their darkest wishes. But which of the five inhabitants will agree to sell their soul to attain whatever it is they think will make them happiest?

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

It's a powerful dose of medicine. And strong comedic performances buoyed by witty barbs serve as a spoonful of sugar to help it go down.

sweet - Jordan Riefe - Hollywood Reporter - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

All four actors in this clever, moralizing fable are in top form. Each scene involving any or all of them is hilarious and fun, driven by some truth about human nature.

sweet - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Marti Lyons' direction is focused and energetic, and she gets superb work from her cast, especially Von Vogt and Jonigkeit. However, an interpretive dance sequence toward the end of the play intended to change up the production's style, tries too hard and unfortunately doesn't work. Silverman's writing is some of the funniest I've experienced in years; it's sharp, the pace is propulsive, and the character work is deft. However, the two parallel storylines never quite sync up to anything bigger, and the comedic material is more successful than the dramatic moments.

That being said, Witch is a very entertaining, wickedly funny play, the kind of thing playwrights might have sold their soul to have written.

sweet-sour - Terry Morgan - Talkin' Broadway - ...read full review


Avatar

Silverman’s bloody, bestial comedy is skillfully acted by the talented cast. Direction and production values are also top-notch, as is Mikhail Fiksel’s clanging, caustic musical score.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

...author Jen Silverman has a writing style that keeps the humor present for most of it, which is a saving grace from the underdeveloped puerile statement the script seems to be building toward.

sweet-sour - Patrick Hurley - That Awesome Theatre Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

Silverman’s script is full of dark humor that not only allows us to be fully engaged throughout the 95-minute one act, it helps to take in the heavier critique of modern times.

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

Playwright Jen Silverman explains, “The Witch of Edmonton is the only play I encountered from that time that boldly announces to the audience that it is going to do this exact thing, and then does entirely the opposite.” Her keen ability to create a revival of this classic piece by Jacobean playwrights Rowley, Dekker, and Ford is something not to be missed, as she recreates the story, now set in contemporary times, even more so resonating with audiences today.

sweet - Bonnie Priever - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Avatar

On the strength of its cast and direction, “Witch” is certainly a worthwhile way to spend an evening at the theater; it’s a top-grade production, full of memorable moments that will spark your thoughts and challenge your preconceived notions. It will also make you laugh – it never lets you quite forget that it’s a dark comedy, no matter if the “dark” sometimes overshadows the humor.

sweet - John Paul King - LA Blade - ...read full review


Avatar

The play is superbly cast, with strong actors in each role. Silverman’s scene endings are filmic rather than theatrical, so Lyons gets each subsequent scene on its feet instantaneously.

sweet - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Avatar

Taken all together, Witch delivers a lot of tasty stuff—fun along with more of a punch to the gut than one had bargained for.

Predictably, the devil gets to have the last word. And it won’t be the one you expect.

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

While there’s much to laud about this production, there seemed to be a disconnect between its message of empowerment and a reliance on old tropes and stereotypes.

...That being said, the writer is to be commended for tackling an ambitious project and trying to craft a meaningful allegory to frame contemporary issues.

sweet-sour - Steve Gottfried - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

You don’t need to know anything about the original to enjoy Silverman’s riff on it, but it’s fun to read it afterward to see what she chose to use and what she didn’t.

sweet - Margaret Gray - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

Playwright Jen Silverman’s “Witch” is very loosely based on a 1621 English play called “The Witch of Edmonton,” but wow, is the plot ever completely new. There’s an effective juxtaposition between contemporary language and ideas and the 17th century period costumes and setting; it’s witty, darkly, humorous and ultimately thought-provoking.

sweet - Sarah A. Spitz - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal

Audiences, as well, are surprised by the outcome of this exceptionally intriguing play under the perceptive direction of Marti Lyons.  A marvelous cast creates each character they play to perfection.

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

The heart of the play— for women, feminists — really, anyone of any gender who’s stood alone against the world — is Elizabeth, with her courage in the face of a bleak friendless future.

sweet - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

WITCH leaves the audience wondering how much a soul is worth, when hope is hard to come by today. Elizabeth Sawyer (Maura Tierney, Golden Globe Winner) is the most reviled woman in her village, inciting people to stare and whisper about her in their midst. When she meets Scratch (Evan Jonigkeit) chemistry heats up and Elizabeth isn't ready to give away the only thing she has in life.

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Erin Conley

In adapting a play nearly 400 years old, Silverman has managed to tap beautifully into our current zeitgeist, asking all of the right questions. And this stellar production, chock full of strong performances, manages to deliver a startlingly somber message with levity and emotional authenticity.

sweet - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Near the end of Jen Silverman's modern adaptation of a 17th-century morality play Elizabeth, long-scorned by her judgmental community, reverses her decision and might be willing to go the Robert Johnson at the Mississippi crossroads route after all. Elizabeth’s argument for the total annihilation of civilization as we know it is a little unsettling—but it’s unsettling because, at this point in this brilliantly conceived cautionary tale, it seems a worthy argument for how the earth might resolve its current descent into universal madness.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

From Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost to Disney’s Fantasia and Broadway’s Damn Yankees, The Devil has been a popular character in books, music, film and stage works.. Marti Lyons has deftly directed and made sure her cast delivered all the various nuances of Silverman’s script.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Is there something you want so badly that you’d give up your soul to get it? That is the question Jen Silverman poses in Witch, her devilishly clever, deliciously laugh-packed, decidedly dark look at gender, class, and the future of life as we know it, set way back in Jacobean England but told in a vernacular as contemporary as the latest Netflix hit.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review